With the growth of social media and the Internet, more people than ever before are gaining their Certificate and Diploma qualifications (particularly the Cert IV in Training and Assessment) through the 'untraditional' mode of online or distance study. However, many critics pose the question of whether an education gain through online learning holds the same credibility and authority as one acquired through traditional face to face learning.
Many Vocational Education and Training courses are offered online in a bid to eliminate geographical limitations - particularly useful to mature aged students.
Critics believe that social interaction with peers plays a significant role in the learning process and is central to education. To combat this, many training institutions focus on heavy interaction with students and require work place training as part of the unit or course curriculum.
On the whole, online education and training is a productive method of learning as students collaborate openly with tutors through a variety of mediums. Interaction and incorporation of the internet through the virtual class room experience is creating a generation of tech savvy students, critical to twenty-first century job seekers.
Online training also offers the ability to create a personalised learning plan. Individuals can tailor when and where they study, which is ideal for those b`lancing work and life commitments. On the whole, the method allows students to reap the benefits of lower course fees while having the opportunity to advance their career.
Students undertaking online learning courses also represent a large majority of the student cohort, ranging from 77 percent of enrolments in New South Wales to 92 percent of enrolments in South Australia. Victoria also had a substantially high percentage of students representing online and distance learning at 81 percent and the Australian Capital Territory had approximately 91 percent of students in online learning.
The Vocational Education and Training sector has also been receiving government support through recent funding. Significant upgrades to satellite services for higher education distance learning students are at the forefront of the federal budget and the availability of bandwidth for tertiary students will be doubling that available to schools. The upgrades also give rise to a range of new services targeted towards enriching online learning experiences, such as two-way video conferencing and interactive media.